While the epidemic of the Coronavirus also called COVID-19 is raging in France, Europe and the world, the confinement and individual protection measures decided by the French government and several countries have led IFA Paris to continue its teaching programmes by setting up its’ online theoretical and practical courses. IFA Paris continues its’ mission, and will continue to serve all its’ students every day, for as long as necessary.
“In this period of unprecedented crisis, IFA Paris is pursuing its’ mission: to provide all its’ students with quality education, and this will continue to be the case as long as this complicated moment lasts,” said Patrick Kouzmine-Karavaieff, co-president and co-founder of IFA Paris.
The school was quick to implement all the necessary means on an academic level to ensure the continuation of its’ courses: IFA Paris quickly set up collaborative working methods. “We had actually anticipated this situation,” says Jean-Baptiste Andréani, Managing Director of the Paris campus of IFA Paris. “The risk of confinement being plausible, we decided early on to offer all our courses in e-learning.”
And to transmit its’ courses online, IFA Paris has opted for the Microsoft Teams platform. “In the past, IFA Paris had negotiated an agreement with Microsoft. Administrators, students and teachers could all access this platform, so we thought it was the perfect software to use in e-learning,” adds Jean-Baptiste Andréani. A practical platform: students access it directly with their IFA Paris email address and can use it at any time to communicate with their professors. As for the classes, they are organized by sessions which are all recorded, following the school’s usual course schedule. During the workshop classes, students work on their final marketing products – hours of tutorials between teachers and students using videos.
“We have also maintained our modules, both theoretical and project monitoring. But since 40% of our students have gone home and we’re in different time zones, we record our video sessions on Teams, and they’re saved directly to the cloud. Wherever they are, students can watch the videos at any time,” says Jean-Baptiste Andréani, who adds: “We started on Monday, March 16th and so far the feedback is positive, everything is going well. The students still have access to their traditional LMS where they share course materials.”
The entire IFA Paris team is also involved in ensuring that, in terms of organisation and communication, a permanent link is maintained with the students. We have kept our students informed by email, translated the local announcements into English and for those who are in Paris, the circulation form,” says Jean-Baptiste Andréani. We sent them a questionnaire to find out which one of them was here, who had access to a good internet network or who not. The students were given the best possible support to find out what equipment they have or don’t have at home. We have to compromise on the lesson plans and adapt, of course – but we adapt! We have even created a guideline with pictures for the sewing sessions and recorded a video session for the pattern-making course. We have created more interactive materials. We communicate with the students about all subjects. Not a day goes by without being in contact with them!”
“None of our students should feel lonely. We’re here for you. IFA Paris at their side! IFA Paris is there to support them.”
Another innovation: IFA Paris has also created a discussion group between teachers and students called “Student Activities”. The goal is to counteract the phenomenon of distancing (or social distancing.) Confined, students follow their course but must also maintain a normal life. A mindfulness class was therefore created, with meditation and yoga practices. The school also offers links to museums with virtual tours of exhibitions, virtual art galleries, links to download art films – as the school’s art club continues, although online. IFA Paris also shares its’ playlist of songs and music, which students can add as they wish. “The important thing is to collaborate, to interact. We have a blog, Mode Edition, on which we will be posting new podcasts. All the technological innovations introduced last year enable us to maintain and strengthen the social link! We’re also going to launch a contest every Monday called “Outfit of the Week”, with a voucher to win on Friday”, says the Managing Director of the Paris campus of IFA Paris. “As many of our students are foreigners, we want to address the solitude that confinement brings with it. They shouldn’t feel lonely! We’re here for them. IFA Paris is at their side! IFA Paris is there to support them,” he says.
The same mission also in Shanghai assures Olivia Chai, co-president of IFA Paris in Shanghai and co-founder of the school. “In Shanghai too, we maintain the link with our students thanks to social networks, WeChat groups created according to class and level, our courses given via the Zoom application or via video. The teachers continue to give instructions and give their evaluations. IFA Paris continues to carry out its’ mission!”
IFA Paris students in Istanbul, most of them foreigners and also confined, have also started their courses on Zoom. “We have reviewed the courses, they have been lightened and we have made them more fun,” explains Adile Cretallaz, General Manager of IFA Paris in Istanbul. To combat the feeling of solitude, we have also launched, as in Paris, wellness and mindfulness courses. And there is a navigator, active online, between the students, who can access it at any time, and the management!”
“Communication is the key word,” insists Patrick Kouzmine-Karavaieff. “We want each of our students to know that we are present, at all times. We are there for our current students and for those in pre-registration, for whom we have also planned to facilitate the conditions of registration and access. So don’t hesitate to contact us, at any time, for anything!”